Munder T, Brütsch O, Leonhart R, Gerger H, Barth J.
Clinical Psychology Review
Volume 33, Issue 4, June 2013, Pages 501–511
Researcher allegiance (RA) is widely discussed as a risk of bias in psychotherapy outcome research. The relevance attached to RA bias is related to meta-analyses demonstrating an association of RA with treatment effects. However, recent meta-analyses have yielded mixed results. To provide more clarity on the magnitude and robustness of the RA-outcome association this article reports on a meta-meta-analysis summarizing all available meta-analytic estimates of the RA-outcome association. Random-effects methods were used. Primary study overlap was controlled. Thirty meta-analyses were included. The mean RA-outcome association was r = .262 (p = .002, I2 = 28.98%), corresponding to a moderate effect size. The RA-outcome association was robust across several moderating variables including characteristics of treatment, population, and the type of RA assessment. Allegiance towards the RA bias hypothesis moderated the RA-outcome association. The findings of this meta-meta-analysis suggest that the RA-outcome association is substantial and robust. Implications for psychotherapy outcome research are discussed.
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